Urgent plea for blood donors as floods, flu and COVID halt supplies

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood has issued an urgent plea for donors, with the recent floods in NSW, the flu and COVID impacting supplies.

The natural disasters mixed with the winter flu and third wave of coronavirus have kept many donors at home, reducing Lifeblood’s reserves of platelets to stock hospitals.

Platelets are the part of blood used to stop bleeding in accidents, emergencies, and chemotherapy.  


Lifeblood’s whole blood supplies nationally are also under extreme pressure, with spokesperson Cath Stone pleading for anyone who is fit and well to donate now.

“Many Sydneysiders and those on the north and south coasts of New South Wales have been impacted by devastating flood events and the inability to leave home to donate blood or prioritise this right now is understandable,” she said.

“In addition, colds, flu, and COVID are continuing to sideline donors, with one in two appointments not being attended.

“Disruptions to public transport and school holidays could also be keeping donors away.”

At the moment, Lifeblood is transporting platelets from Queensland and Victoria to ensure NSW hospitals have enough supply for patients.

“We urgently need an additional 5,500 blood donations this week to keep hospitals across Australia well stocked,” Ms Stone said.

“As a national organisation, we need others around the country to step up and ensure patients continue to receive the blood and blood products they need.”

Lifeblood needs all blood types but is especially keen to hear from O negative donors, the universal blood type used in emergencies.                                 

“We need an additional 700 O negative blood donations over the next week to meet demand,” Ms Stone said.

“If you are O negative, someone in your family could be too, so please to talk to your family and encourage them to donate.”